In 1973, grocery shopping in
Bangkok was done at an open-air market, a mom-and-pop shop, or one of
the few air-conditioned stores. But none specialized in imported items
for the local community until Villa Market opened its first store on
Sukhumvit near Soi 33.
At that time, the local
community had been steadily growing because of several reasons.
Personnel involved with the Vietnam conflict took holidays or were
stationed in the city, foreign companies that invested in Thailand sent
executives, along with their families, to work in the city and many of
these newcomers settled in the Sukhumvit area.
The locals quickly
discovered that Villa Market had the widest selection of imported items
including Marmite from Australia, peanut butter from America, lamb from
New Zealand and other hard-to-find foods. But Villa Market went one step
farther to satisfy the requirements of its customers: it instituted a
policy of quality control that insured that locally produced meat and
produce are fresh and wholesome.
From the very beginning, Villa Market was much more than a grocery store, it also served as an unofficial local meeting place. It was a place to see friends and catch up on the community gossip. The store also had a bulletin board near the door where anyone could post a notice for a maid wanted, apartment for rent, car for sale, or community events.